Therapeutic Recreation Specialist - Challenge Aspen
 
Laurie was born with Spina Bifida and grew up in Wenham, Massachusetts. From a very early age, her parents noticed that she was very active and they worked hard to find recreation and sport programs for her to participate in.…
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What is a disability to you?
Posted in Spina Bifida by Laurie Stephens on Sep 16, 2010
The term DISABILITY is very hard to define because there is a wide variety of actual conditions that tend to affect each person very differently. Disabilities can change over time; it can become almost nonexistent to very severe, or even just stay the same. It is also one of the only groups of people that anyone can join - non-disabled people are sometimes called "temporarily able-bodied," -- TABs!

Currently, in the United States, disability is defined by whether a person is unable to or has major difficulty in performing an activity of daily living (ADL's). An ADL can include walking, climbing stairs, performing basic household tasks, hearing "normal" conversation, reading/seeing "normal" newsprint, etc. An ADL is anything that is considered to be a "normal” task in person's everyday life.

A study done in 1986 by the International Classification of Disability (ICD) found that 50% of people with disabilities did not consider themselves to be disabled. There are many reasons why a person with a disability would not consider themselves disabled. For example, if an individual needs to use a wheelchair because they cannot walk, not being able to walk may not feel like a disability until the individual is faced with a flight of stairs or something that is not accessible. That is when a “disability” can actually be seen as a hindrance.

Questions for thought:

• Even though the government and society considers you to be disabled, do you feel that way?

• Are there any situations that make you feel as if you more disabled than you believe you are?

• Do you think being labeled "disabled" because you have to accomplish an ADL differently is an appropriate way to determine whether or not a person has a disability?

• If not, how would you define “disability”?



Source:
Bullock, C. & Mahon, M. (2001). Introduction to Recreation Services for People with Disabilities: A Person-Centered Approach. Champaign, IL: Sagamore Publishing.



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I feel the most disabled when I cannot do things with my teenaged children with enjoyment due to pain or limitations. The only other time I feel the most disabled is when I am using a store cart. People will actually make comments that I am too lazy to walk because I am fat! That makes me and my kids feel shitty. I will actually say something now, but I never used to.
I am 36, 260lbs. I have severe spinal stenosis on multiple levels due to arthritis, a condition that usually is found when people are in their 60's and above...not my age range, especially with the severity I have. It is not a condition caused by my weight.
By Superduck  Oct 05, 2010
4
I feel the most disabled when I cannot do things with my teenaged children with enjoyment due to pain or limitations. The only other time I feel the most disabled is when I am using a store cart. People will actually make comments that I am too lazy to walk because I am fat! That makes me and my kids feel shitty. I will actually say something now, but I never used to.
I am 36, 260lbs. I have severe spinal stenosis on multiple levels due to arthritis, a condition that usually is found when people are in their 60's and above...not my age range, especially with the severity I have. It is not a condition caused by my weight.
By Superduck  Oct 05, 2010
3
I almost feel the opposite. I consider myself disabled because of my mental state, but I guess because it is not some pysical or noticeable disability, most doctors say I am not disabled. I have been trying to find an understanding doctor for about 10 years, but my health insurance (which is medical assistance) only seems to cover terrible doctors! Ones who are judgemental and almost seem like that want to give me some pills and get paid for nothing! I have been collecting welfare since age 20, I am now 26 and attempting to go to beauty school so I can have a career not just a job, but it is very hard to concentrate and I am worried if I do complete school and work at a salon I will not even have the crappy medical assistance and I will be screwed... Disability in the US needs to be defined more by the government.
By ErykaB  Sep 19, 2010
2
I agree with Angela53510, that it is very important to keep the mind going despite serious problems with a chronic and very disabling disease. Harmonious music helps, many classical composers were not well (Beethoven was deaf, Schumann suffered from an inherited disease, Chopin suffered from emphezimema etc. When I became very unwell with end-stage-kidney-failure & continuous disabling Lupus/MCTD-flare-ups, I started to learn to play the fortepiano, learning to read music & tuning the pianoforte,etc.It has helped me to terms with my frail body. I also go for little walks whenever I can, Museums are a good place, they provide many sitting facilities, to take a rest etc. It all helps, because, after all, things could improve any day, medics are under geat pressure many people are unwell and unable to work and all this is very expensive and there may be a medical break-through soon to assist people & medically assist them get on their feet again?
By Kristina1  Sep 18, 2010
1
I am classed as disabled, with multiple illnesses. I have RA and deformities and walking is a challenge. Right now with a med change, just getting out of bed in the morning is a challenge. But I have found that cycling with the right shoes and bike makes life more accessible. I also play flute, and I have raised beds I can sit on for gardening. I actually enjoy life more today, than before I became ill. Yes, there are things I cannot do, and sometimes the pain is terrible. But I have found many interests and friends to fill my days. I feel loved and worthwhile. I guess that is the best way to cope with life - to accept what you cannot do, and do the things you can with gusto and vim.
By Angela53510  Sep 17, 2010
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